10 Things You May Not Know About The Battle Of The Bulge

9. It Involved More Than a Million Soldiers and 3000 Tanks

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www.awesomestories.com

At the start of the battle on December 16th, about 400,000 German forces, 1,600 artillery pieces and 1200 tanks lashed out toward 200,000 Allied troops and a few hundred tanks, most of them Americans. Reinforcements on both sides were called in with the numbers rising to 540,000 on the Allied side and 450,000 on the German side by December 24th. The Allies also brought in 1,000 more tanks and hundreds of artillery pieces. As the battle continued to its climax on early January, the numbers reached 400,000 total German soldiers against 700,000 Allied troops and more than 2,000 Allied tanks against the few hundred German tanks that remained. The Germans did not have the draw of troops and tanks that the Allies did and therefore could not call on substantial reinforcements like the Allies were able to. This was hampered by the fact that the Allies were able to bomb the German supply lines.

Of the 500,000 Germans, between 65,000 and 120,000 were wounded and killed, 700 tanks were missing, and 1,600 aircraft were damaged beyond repair. On the other hand, the Allied Forces suffered about 90,000 casualties, 300 tanks, and 300 aircraft, with the majority of these losses being incurred in the first week. However, the Allied Forces could make up their losses, and this enabled them to hold the Germans until the war ended. The Battle of Bulge is said to be the largest and costliest battle (in terms of casualties) the U.S army ever fought during World War II. Apart from the soldiers from both sides, an estimated 3,000 civilians died during the fighting, and some were executed by the German combat and security forces.

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  • Mary Alice Richert

    I am , at this moment, rereading Snow and Steel The Battle of the Bulge by Peter Craddick-Adams for the second time. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this entry. It is recalling much of what I have read and some that is new information. It was a fascinating, lively read and I enjoyed it immensely..a little like seeing an old friend.

  • Nick

    What the hell is a “Blitzkrieg Force”? That’s not a real thing.

    • Stephanie Schoppert

      In this case it’s referring to the type of military forces that were used. Blitzkrieg required light tanks supported by pilots and infantry in order to be successful.

      • mnhb212

        The blitzkrieg over England used massive numbers of planes to bomb the cities.

        • Big Mike

          Plus V1 and V2 rockets

    • babalugatz .

      Tell that to the countries the Germans rolled the f**k over in a matter of days….leaving behind, aside from the many dead, a pucker-a*sed, nose-down populace. They probably call it a “Blitz-fu**ing-kreig”, NickO

    • babalugatz .

      Nick, tell that to the countries that were run over & CONQUERED by the Germans in a matter of days. Pretty sure they’d call it a “Blitz-f***in-Kreig”

    • Nuyvas Pekklø

      The word “Blitz Krieg” literally means (in German) “Lightning War”

      • Godfather

        It’s now known as ‘hyperwar’ or ‘Shock and Awe’. Overwhelm your opponent. Get into their supply chain and create confusion and disorganization in their chain of command.

    • mnhb212

      Tell that to the men in the Armed Forces who lived through them. Or tell it to the citizens in London who lived through German blitzgrieg, the bombing of the English cities during WW2. They can tell you what a blitzgrieg is.

      • ivpaul

        No, the blitzkrieg is what Germany did when it overran Poland in 1939. The London Blitz was only aerial bombing. There was no accompanying invasion or land war.

    • Joseph Bost

      If you don’t know what it is, how do you know it’s not a real thing?

    • frank Schlernitzaver

      The lightning got bogged down.

  • Ralf Zabotskowits

    This battle wasn’t even in the top five fought on the Russian Front, the most horrid battles of WWII were fought between the Russians and the Nazi’s.

    • Pat Gallagher

      True, Russians proved they could die by the millions better then anyone

      • milpitasguy

        As it turns out, Stalin didn’t really care about casualties as long as the Red Army achieved his objectives.

        • frank Schlernitzaver

          Stalin loved casualties, so much so he gave orders that anyone who retreated was to be shot on the spot!

        • James Oss

          Like Grant after Gettysburg.

          • Fritz Steiner

            Grant had absolutely NOTHING to do with Gettysburg. He was in Vicksburg, MS taking the besieged city’s surrender at there time of the Battle of Gettysburg.

          • James Oss

            *I know that. I meant Grant’s generalship style AFTER Gettysburg.*

          • Groucho

            Regardless, your commentary belies an egregious ignorance regarding your knowledge of General Grant and his attitude towards casualties. Especially among his own troops. He did nearly everything he could to reduce casualties but, if you actually read about the subject, he was handicapped by the tactics of the day versus the weapons in use. Try reading up on a subject before you expose your ignorance…

          • James Oss

            Well, it appears ‘Groucho’ wins the debate or argument as he would call it by being rude. Nice going, Groucho.

          • AZhot

            You are correct Fritz.

          • Joe Hickory

            That is why it was Grant AFTER Gettysburg.

          • Donald Nelson

            Genius!

          • It was Lee that ordered the soldiers of the pretended Army of Northern Virginia to be shot if they didn’t attack as ordered. General Order Number 4. You can look it up.

          • James Oss

            *And army of peckerwoods. How many slaves did its rank and file own. So basically, they were fighting for the rich plantation owners right to own them. At most in the army, they may have risen to the rank of sergeant if they were overseers on a plantation. Aristocrats we the officer corps and if they didn’t attend West Point or VMI, they bought their commissions. *

          • Tinsley Grey Sammons

            Thank you. You are probably also aware that Lincoln despised Blacks and he wanted to find a home for Blacks away from North America.

          • James Oss

            *How’d this discussion get off the Battle of the Bulge? Been so long I’ve forgotten.*

          • Mary Riewer

            Sir, I must object to your position as regards the myth that the South fought to preserve Slavery. The Constitution, in the powers given to individual states, clearly states that any individual state or group of states can secede from the Union if the citizens of those states so decree by exercising their franchise to vote. Men of honor who conducted themselves as dictated by their personal conscience fought on both sides. Lee was offered command of the Union Army! Many individuals who fought with distinction in the recent Mexican War, classmates at West Point and Annapolis, met again across the battlefields of the Civil War. One of the most wonderful gestures of the chivalry of these men was during the siege of Galveston! The generals who fought on opposing sides had been as close as brothers at West Point! A young officer, the son of one of the Generals, was killed. A three day cease-fire was declared so that a funeral, according to the Masonic rites could be conducted. A lodge was opened, officers from both sides attended the funeral. At the conclusion of the funeral, and the end of the cease-fire, the Lodge was closed. And they returned to the battlefield.

          • Howard Weitzman

            Sorry Mary this is revisionist history. Read the declarations of secession issued by the Southern States. 8 of them specifically mentioned protection of slavery as their reason to secede. Look at how the Southern troops treated captured black soldiers (in uniform!). See how they enslaved the free blacks in their short forays into the North. The war was fought over slavery plain and simple. In fact, if not for the hotheads in Charleston, the South probably could have negotiated with Lincoln to keep their slaves. Their problem was they wanted to expand slavery into the West to maintain power in Congress.

          • Michael S Johnson

            BS!

        • Tinsley Grey Sammons

          Russia made better use of her Jews than did Germany.

    • Big Mike

      Kursk

      • Big Mike

        This was the largest tank battle of all time

        • Philbert McNutt

          Largest single land battle of all time, as well.

        • Larry Purtell

          Not even close. Kursk in 1943.

          • Big Mike

            Read my TWO Statements, #1 KURSK. #2 Largest tank battle of all time. Please read before posting

    • Joseph Bost

      Yes, well we aren’t Russians……this was on the Western Front.

    • Joseph Bost

      …….no, actually more brutal and horrific was the action of Stalin on his own
      people…e.g. the Kulak Operation and the Polish Operation, the systemic starvation, and the Gulags.

      • AZhot

        Even then the left wing press let the Communists slide. Stalin was a total SOB and mass murderer no better than Adolf and the boys.

      • Tinsley Grey Sammons

        Stalin got a free pass from the Western Allies while Hitler was tagged as the Monster of Monsters.

    • ivpaul

      The number of casualties is not a useful measure of what constitutes an important battle, even if it is “horrid.”

    • Steve Shaw

      True that the Russians bore the majority of the fighting against the Nazis, with 80% of all German casualties from WWII occurring on the Eastern front, but in the meantime, the US was also engaged in that little conflict with the Japanese on the other side of the world.

      • Tinsley Grey Sammons

        Fairness demands that that be known.

      • Frank Castle

        If it wasn’t for the USA sending supplies to the Russians, they might have lost too.

    • Tinsley Grey Sammons

      Much of Germany’s Armed forces bled to death on the Eastern Front. I think about 70% of the German KIAs and other casualties occurred on the Eastern Front.

  • Monte Bawden

    9th Armored Div, CCB, were the first to relieve Bastogne. My Uncle was there. Monte Bawden

    • Michael Lemberger

      My great uncle too, Jack Corcoran, TEC4.

    • Bud Keller

      Your uncle might have been at Bastogne, but CCR of the 9th was positioned near Bourcey when attacked by the 2nd Panzer Diviision. They were scattered and retreated piecemeal into Noville and Bastogne where they were regrouped under the Team name SNAFU. 10th AD CCB arrived in Bastogne and set up three teams, Desobry, Ohara and Cherry just before the 101st Airborne. 9th AD CCB units were located closer to St. Vith.

  • Dell P.

    My father was in the battle.

    • John Vermore

      Impressive, they won more on will to fight then any other trait.

      • proudcarrier

        “The greatest generation” in deed! My father was 4F, being deaf, and he was the only boy in his high school graduating class to go to the graduation ceremony. All the others were already in uniform, as was his brother and a cousin. My father wanted to go, too, but was refused. I think he hoped deafness wouldn’t prevent him from being in an artillery division, where it wouldn’t make as much difference, since by the end of the war they were largely deaf, anyway.

    • Matt from Olympia

      As was mine. He was a sergeant in the 28th Division, which fought in the Huertgen forest before being rotated to a “rest” area. He passed information to his superiors that the Germans were massing, was ignored, was overrun the first day, and was captured at dawn on the third day while trying to get back to Allied lines. He escaped briefly en route to the prison camp, but was captured again after a day. He spent the rest of the war in the camp, where he lost half his body weight. He had two kinds of stories about his experiences in the war: those that he would tell when he was sober, and those he would tell only when pretty drunk. For the rest of his life, he woke up in response to any loud noise at night, thinking it was artillery. He passed away 12 years ago at the age of 84.

      • Ronnie Glass

        The bloodiest mess a US soldier ever had to face.

        • John Simon

          Gettysburg, Antietam!

        • Rich Turck

          The Battle of the Hurtgen Forest was the worst battle Americans ever fought – the story was officially buried when the higher-ups saw the losses and that no officer higher than Major had ever gone to oversee the battle. The only recently published book tells it all.

    • El Gato

      My father’s unit was in the battle, one of those “green” units sent to the “quiet area” of the front. But he wasn’t with them then. He was in a hospital in Le Harve with an inflamed appendix, which then burst, moving him way up on the priority list. 🙂

    • Gary Pollard

      mine too, 17th airborne

      • Michael O’Connor

        My Dad also 17th Airborne

  • James Mason

    I used to know a guy who was in the French army in WW1. Being a Jew he emigrated to the US when the krauts started getting rude. He was drafted into the American army and was in an infantry patrol captured by the Germans in the Battle of the Bulge. The Germans executed the prisoners with a pistol shot to the back of the head. But Louis, my friend, woke up a few hours later and started wandering around aimlessly, stunned and only semi-conscious. He ran into a group of French partisans who started asking him questions. They couldn’t figure out what a Frenchman was doing in an American uniform. They asked him what unit he was with and he gave him the name of his WW1 unit. They asked him where it was and he gave them the exact location….at Verdun. So they took him to their secret hospital. After a month he was OK and he fought with the Partisans til he ran into some Americans. When he got back to his unit they told him his wife had been notified that he was missing in action.

  • John Thayer

    No more brother wars!

  • Michael Stevens

    I served in the US army forces that occupied West Germany in the 1970’s and my unit was sent to train with the Belgian Army at a base near Bastogne. We got to tour the village in our uniforms and we were greeted by so many of the villagers who had been there during that siege, and you just couldn’t help but feel how honest their gratitude was as they shook our hands and bought all of our drinks while they thanked us over and over again for the deeds of our fathers. It really was something I’ll never forget…

    • CATalina – NW PA

      That must have been a very proud time for you Michael. My Dad was in Patton’s Third Army. He was always so very proud of his service to our country- Billy R. Mong, from PA.

    • lvnwrth

      Michael…my brother and I were both serving in West Germany in the early 80’s. We took leave for a week, and toured as much of the Battle of the Bulge terrain box as we could squeeze into seven days.

      While we were in Luxembourg, we had the same experience you described. We were in civilian clothes, but with the USAREUR license plates, the English conversations, and the haircuts, it didn’t take long to figure out we were US soldiers. For two days, we couldn’t pay for a meal or a drink.

  • T.M.

    My Dad fought under Patton & was wounded during that battle. Was hospitalized 15 months before he could be discharged from the army hospital in Richmond, Virginia.

  • Scott Perkins

    Who proof read this thing?

    • ivpaul

      No one, obviously.

  • Robert Knouse

    My dad was in this battle..969th maintenance engineers..usa army… He would never tell us anything about ww2..he would let us touch his shrapnel wounds..he hated the sound of vw bugs…remined him of the Germans…he met my mom in Antwerp..and that is why I was born…

  • ivpaul

    Your site needs a copy editor or better writers. This is a terrible read.

  • disqus_v3SHzvCspj

    I believe the false flag op was ‘Operation Greif’ pronounced ‘Grife’ not ‘Greef.’ Capture in an enemy uniform would mean summary execution, no trial, no lawyers, no hearing. Hitler had little or no plans or provisions for handling prisoners, so many were shot. Malmedy was a war crime and quite a few SS personnel paid the price after the war. That was one reason the GI’s fought to the death;

  • disqus_v3SHzvCspj

    Most of the German Tanks were diesel.

    • Laurence Larson

      I beg to differ, check tank specs of WWII. Russian tanks were, after an early tank battle with Japanese diesel tanks in Manchuria. Most Russian gas powered tanks in the battle were destroyed by gasolene fires. Many of the German tanks caught fire from broken fuel lines before they ever got to battle.

      • John P

        Vintage air-cooled VWs suffer fires from cracked fuel lines to this day!

  • pachyderm63

    i knew all 10 of those facts.

  • Doug Rose

    My father was wounded there. 38th Infantry. They were on the way to Cologne when the attack occurred. He and some others ended up in a church at Rochefort completely surrounded by Germans. They hid in the church and watched Germans capture and shoot GI’s and take their uniforms. He was able to escape through a cemetery.

  • Ripper

    Absolutely the Greatest Generation.

  • MarkJ

    I couldn’t immediately ID all the people shown at the top of the article, but I do see from left to right:

    1. Reichsmarschall Hermann Goering (committed suicide 15 October 1946 to escape the hangman’s noose)
    2. Not sure: this might be SS Obergruppenfuehrer Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski (died in a Munich prison, 8 March 1972)
    3. SS Gruppenfuehrer Hermann Fegelein (executed in Berlin for treason/desertion, 28 April 1945)
    4. A. H. (committed suicide in Berlin, 30 April 1945).
    5. Not sure.
    6. Not sure

    If anyone can ID the unknowns, that would be appreciated.

  • sidebar78

    My dad said he cried when he heard Patton died in a car accident. quote ” The Germans couldn’t get him, but a damn drunk GI in a stolen truck did.”

  • Alan Haberstick

    My father Jack C. Haberstick fought in the Battle of the Bulge 114th Infantry Regiment Company ‘G’ 2nd Battalion Co. 44th Infantry Division went in as Tech. Sgt. promoted Battle Field Commission to Sec. Lt. 42 men in his company went in to battle only 3 came home alive.Awarded Silver Star, Bronze Star, Rifle Sharpshooter and Purple Heart. Started 6-6-1939 in The New Jersey National Guard ended service in 1947. any one wants to contact me Alan (ajhstick@aol.com)

  • Gymbeaux

    Staff Sergeant Francis X Peters, my uncle, was wounded not only at the Battle of the Bulge but also on the beaches at Normandy. He never talked about his service, ever. Found his uniform and medals in a box in the attic, still would not talk about it.

  • Kenneth K. Woolnough

    My father was there also. In late December he took command of the 393rd Infantry Regiment of the 99th Inf. Div (Checkerboard).

    • T.C.

      My father was a T5 switchboard operator in the 99th. The 341st Regiment, I think. He saw his circuits going dead, and was ordered to destroy his board and retreat. 3 days without food until they met US reinforcements. Fought on, until a shell fragment messed him up in Metz(?).

  • Jake and Elmo

    Lost my uncle in the Battle of the Bulge. It was a loss that the family still feels in many ways today.

  • DGC

    God bless the American soldiers at the Battle of the Bulge. Our son, who is presently in the 101st, followed his unit from Normandy to the Eagles Nest this year. But for the hand of God and the tenacity of the American soldier, our cause would have been lost. Our tanks were inferior and, our guides told me that, Germans felt a fair fight was when they were outnumbered eight to one. Our uncle was a medic in the 2nd ID at the bulge and his stories were incredible. Imagine bitter cold, living in foxholes with constant attacks from artillery, infantry, and armor in bitter cold with limited supplies. Cut off from the world and fighting battle hardened Germans, fighting for their homeland. the tour was the best money i have ever spent. Our guide told us that after the breakthrough, there were german fighter gets all the way from munich to the eagle’s nest parked lifelessly on the side of the Autobahn for the lack of fuel. We ran Hitler out of gas, preventing his superior war machines from eliminating our soldiers. Our pacificiest at home had weakened our military shamelessly. my opinion

  • Djohsnon

    I am surprised they left out the battle at Elsenborn Ridge and the great service the US 99th and 106th Divisions various units gave in stopping the Sepp Dietrich’s 6th Panzer Army, which was made up of seasoned and feared Waffen-SS units with the likes of Joachim Piper’s so called “Blowtorch Batallion”, and included many Tigers, Panthers, and Jagdpanther Tank destroyers. These were the crack units of the whole operation and they were stopped by the forementioned US units and forced to turn south to link up with Manteuful at Dinant on the Meuse. I know this part of the battle was less known of at the time because most of the journalists were in Bastogne at the time, but it is plainly known nowadays, and in my opinion was as important or more important than Bastogne. Any thoughts on this?

    • GeeBee

      The book “The Longest Winter” by Alex Kershaw is a good read on the subject of the guys who slowed the initial advance of the SS units.

      • Djohsnon

        Thanks for the tip. I’ll check it out!

    • Rudy Malmgren

      99th, 2nd and fragments of the 106th divisions.

  • james a Brosman

    First of all, the history collections should know better: a battalion is NOT a division. There was only one African American Division in Europe and it was the 92d and was in Italy. Furthermore it was at this time that Eisenhower gave orders to let let African American in these service companies and battalions to volunteer to serve on the front lines and so many American rifle companies had a fifth platoon composed of African Americans from the service units. For these guys to volunteer to serve in a frontline infantry unit was remarkable because whtever rank they held in the service unit they lost when volunteering for frontline service.
    This does not pertain to this but there were many African Americans on the beaches on D-Day. All those DUKWs you saw ferrying troops as well as the barrage balloon tenders were African american and many of them paid with their lives.

    • Stephanie Schoppert

      You are absolutely right. I did put divisions in one sentence when I was referencing the battalions. It’s been fixed and definitely appreciate you sharing the extra info.

    • GeeBee

      I had a colleague, African-American, who died a few years ago, who was on Omaha beach on D-day unloading supplies. Many of his friends were killed around him as they had not yet closed down the 88mm artillery the Germans had inland.

  • GI Joe

    My father was there as well…84 Infantry Division, 334 Infantry Regiment, Company “C”. S/Sgt Ambrose Cerrito, R.I.

  • Thomas A. Massie

    My father was hit by an 88 tree burst. He was treated for 46 wounds and lost an eye. When I asked him about the bulge, all he would say, “It was damned cold son”.

  • Steven White

    My father William G. White was in the 101st Division I would like to find out the actual sub unit for instance Battalion, Company, Platoon.

    • T.C.

      If you can find his discharge or DD214, it should include that information. Some of the units have online references, also.

  • AZhot

    My wife’s Uncle Eddy was in the 101 and was captured in the battle of the bulge. He passed on some time ago, but always used to say that every day after that was a bonus. He was also against the Iraq war and, at the time I didn’t understand. I thought Sadam needed to be removed, but now, thanks to good old hind sight, I understand why Uncle Eddie was so against the war. We lost some of our most precious blood and many that did come back will never be the same.

  • Thomas A. Massie

    My father was hit by an eighty eight tree burst. He received 42 shrapnel wounds and lost an eye. When I ask him of the battle his reply was, “It was damned cold son”. He was always grateful he was able to walk out. He said the fella next to him “Just disappeared”.

  • RhodeIslandAspie

    “The German Panzer and Tiger tanks were devastating war machines but they were gas guzzlers.”

    That line needs to be rewritten. Panzer is the German word for tank.

    • RedWing55

      I’m sure they meant the Panther tank, which was a mainstay of the German Wehrmacht. The principal tank of Germany during WW2, it was an excellent tank.

  • Jimmy Coleman

    American heroism at it’s best!

  • Bernard Slobodnik

    I read a book not too long ago by Otto Carius called Tigers in the Mud on his experiences as a Tiger Tank officer on the Eastern Front and he very much commended the Russians for their heart and willingness to fight but he said that their heart and courage was a waste because of their atrocious military leadership. Like one time he and his three other Tigers that he was in command of were attacked by some Russian soldiers but they were attacking them with rifles and bayonets. Not exactly something that would take out a Tiger tank. But they kept coming at them so he and his men just kept mowing them down ad after it was done he said that there was a field of bodies and body parts in front of them and not a single one of his men were injured. He used that as an example and said that those men knew that they were charging into certain death by attacking them but they did it anyway because they had the courage to do so but he lamented the idiotic commanders that would send their soldiers to die so needlessly. That is why Russia lost an estimated 11 million men during the war and Germany lost 2.5 million men on the Eastern Front. So while Russia killed the most Germans they also had the highest mortality and MIA rate of any military during World War 2 and lost an estimated 25 men for each American soldier that was lost during the war.

  • Carl Rupp

    My brother was in Huertgen Forest, Told me the most horrendous were the tree bursts, A shell would explode in tree top and rain down steel splinters and tree bark could not escape these even in a fox hole.Plus the cold and snow, He received a bronze star for his bravery in Huertgen.

  • Frank Castle

    The Battle of the Bulge….the movie….. was probably one of the worse WWII movies ever made. The mistakes they showed were so obvious BUT it still is very entertaining.

  • Rex Hall

    Was there with the 33rd Army Band, Heidelberg, W German. MIt was the 30th anniversary. As we drove thru the town in our Army bus, we could see machine gun bullet holes still in the buildings. The weather was cold and damp, so I can imagine how bad it was back then

  • Jamez

    I have an uncle, married to my dads sister, who was there. He’s now 93 and his mind is still sharp. He’s told me a bit about this battle, but it was so horrific that he has never told anyone everything.

  • cliff

    This site needs an editor

  • Robby House

    That satisfying feeling I get being familiar with all 10 “things” I was supposed to probably not know about regarding the Battle of the Bulge.